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Special Spaces: Party in the Back

American author John Rousmaniere wrote, “The goal is not to sail the boat, but rather to help the boat sail herself.” Sailing and architecture aren’t necessarily two entities that one would normally draw parallels from, but principal and founder of SAIL Architects Jessica Williams, finds them interchangeable. “There have been two things in my life that have been a constant since I was about the age of eight, sailing and architecture. Sailing started when my parents signed me up for the Little Skippers class at my local club. Architecture started when I would peruse my mother’s McCall’s magazines and see house plans and then sit down and draw up my own dream houses. Little did I know then that these two interests would take me to some amazing places and experiences in my life.”

If you were to draw a Venn diagram, one side of the circle being architecture and the other side being sailing, the center would be, according to Williams, tuning for performance.

“Architecture is static, it’s not moving, but you’re always moving through it. Fine tuning those pathways to be animated yet functional is key to those spaces feeling good. I call that ‘the experiential path.’ Getting to know the personalities of my clients is how I design what is right for them. There’s a little bit of neuroscience involved but ultimately, it’s all about their well-being and when the space is right, they can feel like they’ve arrived in their sanctuary.” 

Fine-tuning was integral to the design of the black barn-like structure in a busy family’s backyard oasis. They needed a space that would function as a party space, backdrop to their yard overlooking the marsh view, a gym, guest quarters and possibly even house their boat in the winter—all while connecting to their traditional…



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